So I got a text message last night upon which I had to do some reflecting.
A year ago and change, my world started being rocked with some serious body blows. I have not fully recovered from all of them, but Hurricane Irma was the first of them and, in some ways, the easiest one.
I was lucky. My neighbor across the hall lost all of her possessions. My neighbors, upstairs, who rode out the flooding that ravaged our neighborhood during and immediately after the storm, lost their cars. Insurance made them whole, of course, but none of them are in my building any longer. I rode out the immediate aftermath at my (now ex-) girlfriend’s house (yes, that was another body blow) and I only had to wait two weeks for a new air conditioner and hot water heater. The Fabiani family (God bless them, wherever they are now) came and helped me clean my place.
So we lived like, essentially, 1970s-era Eastern Europeans for a couple of weeks while we waited for First World luxuries.
My son and I were lucky. But even in our state of luckiness/blessedness, with what happened that followed, we very nearly bailed on this state. He’s still not all that happy that we didn’t and I don’t think he’ll come to Florida often once he’s fully on his own after college. I’ve been a wreck this season (hurricane, that is). Eating constantly, poring over hurricane tracks constantly, not sleeping, not working out. And nothing really THAT bad happened to me.
I don’t have many — or, really, any — details on what Michael’s done out west to the 1A-1 and 2A-1 coverage area. I know Tallahassee is climbing back toward recovery. West of that? Not so much. I have seen photos and videos, like so many of you. I’ve seen war zones that looked less blown up.
I know there have been efforts to go out and help. Clay Allen and Florida High sent a delegation just very recently. But Panama City…Marianna…Wewahitchka…and perhaps other places I’ve not heard from yet…all very much in a difficult place right now. A place that I, even as a fellow hurricane disaster survivor and at one time made homeless by one, have not been.
What happens out there, on a wrestling front, isn’t quite a wilderness to me, but it sort of is. I don’t know what the state of play is regarding half the coaches in the coverage area, who’s staying, who’s going, and it’s usually the one area where I have to chase the most results once the season begins. But right now, the people in that area aren’t worrying so much about who beat whom at what weight at districts last year, and whether that guy in Jacksonville is EVER going to make a trip out to cover their tournament.
They’re worried about when the next water truck will show up. If a neighbor can help them clear trees. If (insert Panhandle electric company name here) will fix the power lines. When their insurance company will help them get back on their feet again.
I’d urge you to donate your time, donate your resources. Both good things.
In the meantime, wrestling will still be here; it will still go on (eventually). I’ve already heard that Border Wars is going to be staged as planned. Walton County didn’t get hit as badly. And we are still here to write about whatever happens. Even if we have to chase it down.